Biological Services


UCL PhD candidate awarded NC3Rs fund for replacement of animal models

28 November 2022

NC3Rs-funded PhD candidate uses 3D-organoids to model Alzheimer’s disease

Francesa Lam Headshot


Dr Marc Busche has recently been awarded £90,000 in an NC3Rs Studentship Grant to further study organoid models of Alzheimer’s Disease. We asked Francesca Lam, PhD candidate, to share her work and what it could mean for replacing animals in this area of research.

My name is Francesca, and I am a current PhD student at the Busche Lab in the Dementia Research Institute. I am working on a project establishing a 3D in vitro model of neuronal circuit dysfunction in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

Recent work has shown that neuronal circuit dysfunction is among one of the earliest key changes in AD, showing an urgency to investigate and better understand this dysfunction and how it links with cognitive decline seen in AD patients. However, currently the main research model used to investigate neuronal circuit dysfunction in AD are mouse models. I aim to replace the use of these rodent models by growing cerebral organoids from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and investigating their neuronal activity using cutting-edge high-resolution recording techniques.

The prospect of being able to make my own contribution to the field of AD research whilst also being able to replace the use of animal models is what excited me the most about my project. I hope that by establishing this organoid model, my lab and labs worldwide can utilise it to replace the use of rodent models in future studies of neuronal circuit dysfunction in AD.

More information on the project and NC3Rs funding can be found on the NC3Rs website.